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How to Improve Power of your Camaro ZL1 with Upgraded AFCO 80283NDP/PRO Heat Exchanger/Intercooler

CAMARO ZL1 AFCO 80283 UPGRADE HEAT EXCHANGERS/INTERCOOLER FOR SUPERCHARGED CAMARO ZL1s. Improve Power 7 to 10% Over the Stock Units and 10 to 20% from timing retard and fuel management


The ZL1 Camaro, with its 6.2-liter supercharged LSA motor and its 580 horsepower and 556 pound-feet of drive-shaft-twisting-torque is the most powerful Camaro that Chevrolet ever produced. But there is always room to improve power. 


 Upgrade to an APPLIEDSPEED-AFCO Racing heat exchanger. It is affordable, quick to install with basic hand tools, and it can improve power by 7 to 10% over the stock unit plus 10 to 20% saved from timing retard and fuel management.


 AFCO offers two heat exchangers for the Camaro ZL1. They are three times thicker than the stock units, which yields an increase of 350% in cooling ability. Unit 80283PRO comes with dual Spal fans and wiring kit and the other is part number 80283NDP. Both units are TIG welded, laser-cut and they have no epoxy to weaken the joints. Double pass design ensures maximum cooling by forcing the coolant to pass through the cooler twice as it is swirled within the tubes.


Heat Exchangers and Intercoolers

 Heat exchangers are typically used on supercharged engines while intercoolers are mainly used on turbocharged motors. They serve the same purpose of cooling the intake charge and their names have become interchangeable.


Why install an upgraded heat exchanger/intercooler?

 Replace your old factory heat exchanger in your Camaro ZL1 and increase intake cooling efficiency with these new replacement heat exchangers from AFCO and supply your engine with a denser oxygen-rich charge. These heat exchangers are three times thicker than the stock ones so they can lower coolant temperature up to 50° F over the stock units. These heat exchangers are laser cut aluminum TIG-welded construction with a double pass design and dual row 1" tube core. 



Once the heat exchanger water has been cooled through the intercooler it flows to the intake plenum. There,  the cooled water flows through a core. This photograph depicts how the hot air charge in red enters the intake plenum core, and the water in blue cools it. 




Why does intake temperature affect power?

 The greater the temperature delta between intake and combustion, the higher the power the engine can make. Theoretically increasing intake pressure by 1 PSI increases power by 7 percent...but there is a price to pay! Superchargers are compressors, and they increase the mass of air that the engine will ingest. But as Charles’ law dictates the pressure of a gas is directly proportional to its temperature. As such, if we increase the pressure of the air intake, we will also increase the temperature by a proportionate amount.

NASCAR standout Smokey Yunick stated in his books: “Each ten degree of temperature reduction equals from one to one and a half percent in horsepower increase.”


Additional Possible Power Gains

 Reducing the intake air temperature also affects timing and fuel injection which could cause detonation and engine damage. But here, the ECU is the savior and it will pull timing to prevent detonation, and it will correct the fuel delivery, but those adjustments further reduce power by an additional 10 to 20%! Narrow heat exchangers tend to heat-soak rapidly. AFCO's intercoolers/heat exchangers for Camaros cool 350% better than the stock units.


How do Air to Water Heat Exchangers Work?

STILLEN DRAWING Air to liquid heat exchangers hold cooling fluid in a small tank, independent of the primary engine cooling system. A pump circulates the fluid through the cooler installed at the main radiator exposed to the air flowing into the cowling. The fluid then flows to the core beneath the supercharger, where it cools the intake air. The hot fluid then returns to the reservoir.
Drawing from https://www.enginebasics.com with thanks to Stillen.com




WHIPPLE SUPERCHARGERS This drawing from Whipple Superchargers details the individual components of a supercharger. The rectangular part that is sandwiched between the intake plenum and the intake manifold contains the core where the cooled water flows. This is the part that cools the air before it enters the engine.

Whipple Superchargers https://www.enginebasics.com




 This image of a Camaro ZL1 supercharger sheds light on the need for an upgraded heat exchanger as it shows how crowded and hot things get are under the hood. Fortunately, installing an upgraded heat exchanger does not require any work on the engine.




 Air to water heat exchangers are much more efficient than the air to air ones. They are easier to package and they do not “heat soak” as readily as the air to air type, especially with Spal electric fans at the ready like on the 80283PRO units. As such, they are ideal for daily driving, and drag racers and autocross drivers have experienced great results with AFCO's upgraded air to water coolers.


.AFCO's heat exchangers are three times thicker than the factory variants. The increased thickness yields greater air volume through the unit, and it lowers internal restriction. In total, the improvements yield 350% more cooling capacity for an additional 25 to 50 degrees drop over the stock unit. The large size of the heat exchanger prevents any pressure loss compared to the stock units. The double-pass design is capped by a fully welded separator plate that completely bypasses the second section of the cooler. Fully welded, this plate prevents any of the water to bypass.


 ·  Fully TIG welded, and no epoxy is used anywhere on the AFCO heat exchangers for maximum reliability.

· The cooling tubes are designed specifically for supercharger heat exchangers for optimum efficiency, unlike the modified air conditioning systems found online.

 · Dual electric 10-inch diameter SPAL fans improve cooling at all speeds (80283PRO). This feature bodes well with drag racers, autocrossers, track day drivers, and all-around performance guys.

 · Both 80283 models from  AFCO heat exchangers for Camaros are of the double-pass design. This construction has been used extensively with radiators in NASCAR and open-wheel racing for several years. The innovative construction causes the coolant to pass through the cooler twice and to swirl within the tubes to optimize the cooling and volume of the air intake.


CHARLES LAW Charle's Law dictates that the temperature of any gas is directly proportional to its pressure. As such, if the ambient air temperature is let’s say, 70 degrees, and the air is further compressed by the supercharger to an additional 14.7 PSI the intake charge will now reach 140 degrees.





 “Comparing AFCO’s heat exchangers versus the factory ZL1 Heat Exchangers the dual ten-inch SPAL fans are most efficient at lower ground speeds when we’re off-peak boost coming down from a run”.  – Eric Saffell, AFCO RACING  


  AFCO Racing, a company long known for its involvement in NASCAR and Open Wheel racing, is always at the forefront of improvements in performance and racing. The Boonville, Indiana, racing parts manufacturer produces US-made solutions for aftermarket upgrade heat exchangers for several American vehicles.



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